Connections is a monthly e-newsletter of the Massachusetts Greenways and Trails Program
The purpose of Connections is to provide greenways and trails constituents in Massachusetts with updated information about DCR’s grants and programs, but also to describe innovative tools, share success stories and serve as a forum for issues relating to greenways and trails development and management in our state.  Ideally, Connections will help strengthen the network of individuals and organizations working to create a network of greenways and trails that will eventually connect the residents of Massachusetts to each other, to our communities and to our remarkable landscape.  

DCR Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual pdf format of Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual
file size 2MB : Adopted by the DCR Commissioner in 2008, this ‘Working Document’ provides guidelines and best practices aimed at enhancing DCR’s trails planning and management.

Commonwealth Connections Plan
Developed in 2002 in partnership with over 200 individuals and organizations, this plan is a vision for a coordinated network of greenways and trails in Massachusetts, and includes specific steps for making this vision a reality.  See where you can play a part in creating this reality.

Creating Greenways: A Citizen’s Guide
Written in 2000 by Jennifer Howard, this publication is an invaluable resource for citizens engaged in greenway and trail efforts.  Contact us for a copy .  

American Trails Resource Library: find publications and resources covering topics from trail building to management to advocacy to education.

Trail Protection Resources

Sample Trail License Agreement doc format of sample trail agreement.doc
Sample Trail Easement 1 doc format of sample trail easement.doc
Sample Trail Easement 2 doc format of sample trail easement2.doc

Trail Design and Construction Resources

Trail Design: Presentation at the 2009 Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference pdf format of Trail Design Presentation at MA Land Conservation Conf.
file size 1MB

The USDA Forest Service “Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook” includes excellent descriptions and diagrams of various trail construction and maintenance techniques from tread maintenance to grade dips to switchbacks to bridges.

Appalachian Mountain Club’s - The Complete Guide to Trail Building and Maintenance 3rd Edition by Carl Demrow and David Salisbury.  Includes the essentials for creating environmentally sound trails: how to plan, design, build, and maintain trails; protective gear; choice of tools for each job; building ski trails, bridges, stiles, and ladders.  Updated techniques focus on stonework, drainage, and erosion control, and working with private landowners.  

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s - A.T. Design, Construction, and Maintenance by William Birchard, Jr., Robert D. Proudman, and the Regional Staff of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.  Second edition (2000) of the definitive handbook on trail work, from landscape values to the nitty-gritty of moving rock.

Student Conservation Association’s Lightly On The Land. The SCA Trail Building and Maintenance Manual, 2nd Edition by Bob Birkby.  In settings from city parks to back country wilderness, the practical skills presented in its pioneering handbook have been tested in the field by volunteer and professional work crews throughout the nation.  

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Trail Planning, Design, and Development Guidelines manual provides guidelines for developing sustainable motorized and non motorized trails.  Extensive attention is given to developing trails that are physically, ecologically, and economically sustainable.  A newly-developed trail classification system is described to enhance consistency in how different types of trails are planned and designed.  The principles of trail design emphasize the art of designing trails to make them more visually appealing and enjoyable.  Technical design guidelines for various types of trails are also extensively considered in the manual.  Caution! This is a very large file, almost 700 MB.

USDA Forest Service Accessibility Guidebook for Outdoor Recreation and Trails a guidebook intended to help users apply the Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines and Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines.  

University of Minnesota Trail Design for Small Properties provides simple, inexpensive solutions for designing, building, and maintaining sustainable trials—trails for hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-highway motorcycles (OHMs), and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).  

International Mountain Bike Association’s - Trail Solutions IMBA’s Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack.  This book combines trail building techniques with proven fundamentals in a colorful, easy-to-read format.  The book is divided into eight sections that follow the trail building process from beginning to end.  

Natural Surface Trails by Design by Troy Scott Parker Physical and Human Design Essentials of Sustainable, Enjoyable Trails.  This first book in a series captures much of the detailed knowledge of skilled trail designers.  It presents eleven generative concepts as the foundation for a concise process that explains, relates, and predicts what actually happens on all natural surface trails.  The concepts cover the essential physical and human forces and relationships that govern trails—how we perceive nature, how trails make us feel, how trail use changes trails, how soils and trail materials behave, and how water, drainage, and erosion act.

Accessible Trails Guidelines.  The American Trails website has links to the guidelines, numerous articles, and suggestions for the design and development of accessible trails.  

The US Forest Service provides accessibility guidelines on its website, including the Forest Service Trails Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG) and the Accessibility Guidebook on Outdoor Recreation and Trails.